Weekend links 431

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Postcard collage by Alex Eckman-Lawn.

• “He deserves to be a major figure not only in the history of Japanese music, but in popular music writ large.” Geeta Dayal on Haruomi Hosono, a musician whose solo albums from the 1970s are reissued this month by Light In The Attic.

Erica X Eisen reviews Black Light: Secret Traditions in Art since the 1950s, an exhibition of occult art at the Barcelona Contemporary Culture Centre. Related: Gary Lachman‘s talk from the same exhibition.

• Mixes of the week: Jesús Bacalão’s Light Entertainment Programme 2, Secret Thirteen Mix 265 by Alexander Tucker, and FACT Mix 672 by Rian Treanor.

Whenever horror is criticised, it is criticised for staging a dark carnival of physicality. Perhaps the only sort of media we moralise more than we do horror is that other mainliner of bodily response, pornography.

Horror’s historical ghettoisation has meant that weightier, smarter horror reliably gets labelled as something else. The finest films of our current golden age have been dubbed “elevated horror” and “post-horror”. In literary circles, works of horror seen as sufficiently cerebral get relabelled “Gothic”. It’s certainly true that great horror is always about more than gore. But we should be careful not to gentrify the genre by cleansing it of everything but the philosophy.

MM Owen on the perennial attractions of a perennially despised genre

• “Netflix is a woeful service,” says Jeremy Allen who prefers DVD/Blu-ray to streaming video (as do I). Related: The problem with film aspect ratio on Netflix.

• The Thought Gang album, a Twin Peaks-related collaboration between David Lynch & Angelo Badalamenti from 1993, will be released next month.

Tangerine Dream: Sound From Another World: a TV documentary from 2016. In German but with auto-translated subtitles.

The Thing’s Incredible! The Secret Origins of Weird Tales by John Locke.

Haute Macabre Staff Favorites: Tarot Decks

First Light (1980) by Harold Budd & Brian Eno | Blue Light (1993) by Mazzy Star | Black Light (1994) by Material

Lynch dogs

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Last year I decided that rather than watch the new series of Twin Peaks via whatever dubious downloads were available, I’d wait until the whole thing was released on disc. Last weekend I finally pressed “play” on the first episode, but prior to this I’d spent the past couple of months working through David Lynch’s filmography, from his earliest shorts to Inland Empire. I also watched a couple of episodes from the first two seasons of Twin Peaks (the pilot and the final episode of season two).

Watching a director’s collected works used to be a difficult thing without an obliging repertory cinema or TV channel. In the days when the BBC and Channel 4 (UK) still treated cinema as an art form we were given seasons of films by Orson Welles, François Truffaut, Ingmar Bergman, Robert Altman and many others. When was the last time a (non-Swedish) television channel showed all of Bergman’s films, I wonder? It was memories of watching an Altman season that led me to spend the summer of 2016 watching all of the director’s films from That Cold Day in the Park (1969) through to A Prairie Home Companion (2006), 33 films in all. I then followed this with a viewing of nearly all the Hitchcock films that are currently available on blu-ray. Watching a director’s oeuvre in this manner makes you notice things that seem less obvious when the same films are viewed in isolation: the recurrent use of actors becomes more notable, while themes, obsessions and directorial tics make themselves more apparent.

David Lynch shares shares with Altman and Hitchcock a compulsion for using the same actors from one film to the next, but I’d not noticed before how often dogs appear in his films. So that’s what this post examines, some of the canine moments from his feature films. Since I didn’t watch the whole of the first two seasons of Twin Peaks they’re omitted from this listing (unless you know of a dog in any of the episodes) while some of  Lynch’s minor works such as the short-lived On the Air series, and one-offs such as The Cowboy and the Frenchman (1988), I either haven’t seen for years or haven’t seen at all.

The Grandmother (1970)

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The Grandmother not only introduces the elderly woman/suited boy pairing that recurs later in the Twin Peaks mythos, but it also establishes the canine theme when the boy’s parents are shown mewling and barking like dogs. Whatever other qualities dogs may possess, Lynch is drawn to the disturbing and often threatening nature of the sounds they make.

Eraserhead (1977)

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The potential for threat is reinforced in Eraserhead when Henry is startled by barking dogs on his way to visit Mary. The only dogs that appear before the camera are the puppies and their mother on the floor of Mary’s home.

Continue reading “Lynch dogs”

Weekend links 361

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The Future Vol.2 (2016) by f1x-2.

• One of the notable things about the reaction to the original series of Twin Peaks was the way in which Americans were astonished that something so outré could be allowed on television. Here in the UK the response was a little more subdued; we had, after all been spoiled for years by The Prisoner, Sapphire and Steel, and numerous odd and challenging dramas by Dennis Potter and others. Pre-dating all of these was The Strange World of Gurney Slade (1960), a six-part series starring Anthony Newley that was unprecedented in its Surrealism. Andy Murray looks back at the series, and at the rest of Newley’s career.

Andrew Dickson on Peter Ackroyd whose latest book, Queer City: Gay London from the Romans to the Present Day, is published later this month.

Alyona Sokolnikova on a Soviet vision of the future: the legacy and influence of Tekhikia – Molodezhi (Technology for the Youth) magazine.

You know who weren’t cops? All the radicals and queers and artists and dreamers that were there while I grew up, my mom and dad’s old friends from New York and the wider bohemian world, the actors and the drag queens and the dilettantes and the ex junkies and the current junkies, the kind of queer people who wouldn’t get caught dead getting married, the people who actually made the “old New York” of the myth into what it was. They were smart and they were funny and they were tougher than I can imagine and they were possessed of an existential commitment to the idea that life is complicated and so we shouldn’t be quick to judge. They were tolerant, in the true sense, even while they were tireless advocates for actual justice. […] Now we’re Rudy Giuliani, trying to get offensive art pulled off the walls. Now we’re the book burners. Now we’re the censors. Now we attack the ACLU for defending free speech. Now we screech about community morals. Now we’re the prison camp screws. That’s us. Me, I could never be one of the good ones. Never. I can never live up to that ideal. I know I’m not good enough. I know when the judgment day comes, I go down. And so I decline. You can decline, too.

Planet of Cops by Freddie deBoer, or how inflexible morality makes everyone a cop

• Mixes of the week: FACT Mix 601 by Dark Entries, Secret Thirteen Mix 221 by Eli Keszler, and XLR8R Podcast 490 by Ben Lukas Boysen.

• At Dangerous Minds: Punk, Patti Smith, William Burroughs & capitalism: A “conceptual conversation” with RE/Search’s Vale.

Emily Wells on the strange, irreverent worlds of Down Below and The Complete Stories of Leonora Carrington.

Rick Poynor on Mike Halliwell’s montages based on JG Ballard’s The Atrocity Exhibition.

• “Why are the British so scared of cannabis?” asks Professor David Nutt.

Witchcraft and the Gay Counterculture (1978) by Arthur Evans.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Jacques Rivette Day.

Designing Penguin Modern Classics

Future Dub (1994) by Mouse On Mars | Future Proof (2003) by Massive Attack | Future (2004) by Alva Noto

Weekend links 329

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Josef Vyletal borrows figures from Aubrey Beardsley’s Salomé for a Czech poster promoting The Immortal Story (1969) by Orson Welles. Vyletal’s own paintings were often strange and surreal.

Pale Fire is Nabokov’s “great gay comic novel,” says Edmund White. A surprising but not inappropriate reappraisal. White has noted in the past that Nabokov “hated homosexuality” despite having a gay brother and uncle. The portrayal of Charles Kinbote in Pale Fire isn’t unsympathetic if you overlook his being delusional, and possibly insane…

• At Folk Horror Revival: details of the charity donations raised by sales of the Folk Horror Revival books, the first of which featured my David Rudkin essay. A one-day Folk Horror Revival event takes place later this month at the British Museum, London.

• Mixes of the week: The Bug presents Killing Sound Chapter 2: Inner Space, a 2-hour blend of “sci-fi scores, expansive atmospheres and synthesized psychedelia”; Decoded Sundays presents Scanner; Secret Thirteen Mix 197 is by LXV.

Stars Of The Lid unveil a James Plotkin remix of their Music For Twin Peaks Episode #30 Pt. 1. Related: the hype for the new Twin Peaks series gets into gear with a teaser.

• Robert Aickman’s only novel, The Late Breakfasters (1964), is being given its first US publication by Valancourt Books.

• “Don’t dream it, bet it.” Evan J. Peterson on 40 years of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

• Anna von Hausswolff’s sister, Maria, directs a video for Come Wander With Me / Deliverance.

• RIP Michael O’Pray, film writer and curator of many festivals of experimental cinema.

• Oli Warwick talks to electronic musicians about the influence of the late Don Buchla.

Breakfast In Bed (1969) by Dusty Springfield | Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast (1970) by Pink Floyd | Another Breakfast With You (2001) by Ladytron

Weekend links 258

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Simon Stålenhag‘s SF artwork will be published in book form if funding is secured. In the future everything will be crowdfunded for 15 minutes.

• Mixes of the week: FACT Mix 494 is a fantastic dub selection by Colleen; Secret Thirteen Mix 151 is by Sally Dige; Stephen Mallinder‘s return to the doom-laden Industrial music of the 1980s suits the post-election mood. Mallinder’s mix is helping promote Industrial Soundtrack for the Urban Decay, a documentary by Amélie Ravalec.

• “…it felt more like real life to me than the average hour-long television show.” Sopranos creator David Chase on what he enjoyed about Twin Peaks. Related: Twin Peaks Tarot cards.

Sound & Song in the Natural World edited by Tobias Fischer & Lara Cory. A book about animal music and communication with a 60-minute CD of field recordings.

• “The psychedelic renaissance has already begun, and for the most part I welcome it,” says Erik Davis in a wide-ranging interview with Sean Matharoo.

• It rumbles on: Brown Pundits on “An Embarrassment at PEN”. A useful collection of stories, reactions and polemic from the past two weeks.

Fanny and Stella: The Shocking True Story, a play by Glenn Chandler about Victorian London’s scandalous pair of cross-dressing men.

• Artist Charles Ray causes a problem for the Whitney Museum of American Art with his sculpture of a naked Jim and Huckleberry Finn.

• “Don’t believe Orson Welles,” says his biographer Simon Callow, “especially when he calls himself a failure.”

• A return to Adolph Sutro’s Cliff House features several photos I’d not seen before.

• More Tarot: Arcana: The Tarot Poetry Anthology is looking for funding.

• At Dangerous Minds: The ancient magic of the record label.

Foreign Movie Posters

Tarot (Ace of Wands theme, 1970) by Andy Bown | Distant Dreams (Part Two) (1980) by Throbbing Gristle | The Devil In Me (1982) by Stephen Mallinder